It's Memorial Day weekend and the sweet days of Kinetic Madness await all you lucky kiddies by the bay. I'll be in another bay area missing the sculptured fun but making up for it by celebrating the 97th birthday of a very special lady. So I wish you all a spectacular time behind the magical veil of the redwood curtain and will see you out on the town on the bookend nights of this sacred pre-summer holiday.
Have fun, be safe and if those two things conflict, then lean a little more on the fun.
Jazz pianist and Grammy-nominated composer Pascal Le Boeuf presents his work at The Sanctuary tonight at 7:30 p.m. ($20, $10 students). Joining him for a recital of his newest piece "Ritual Being" is the Friction Quartet, featuring Arcata High alum Otis Harriel and that's just right.
There's a nice pre-race Kinetic kick-off party tonight at the Outer Space at 8 p.m. ($4). It's all brass music, baby, featuring the marching meters of Bandamonium and LOUD neighbors. Come get a piece of it.
An hour later there are two shows, one in Eureka and one in Redway, perfectly showcasing the aesthetics of their respective citizens. At the Mateel you will find the island reggae tones of Hawaii's J Boog with similarly aligned acts I-Octane and Westafa ($40, $30 advance).
Meanwhile up at The Siren's Song, artist Jullia Finkelstein will be doing live paintings while The Bored Again entertains with solo punk stylings and "trash slam poet" Wil Gibson spits something stinky over the greasy grooves of Hollow Down. Come on out and get a little paint or somethin' on ya ($5).
While the mighty moving statues of the Kinetic Grand Championship make their revolutions from pavement to sand in the fog-belt, you can find yourself far from one madding crowd and deep into another scene down in Redway as KMUD celebrates its 31st anniversary with its annual block party at noon (free, but donations to the station are welcome). Acts like That Captain, Ari & Ruby and Back to the Hill share the stage with many more at a birthday party that lasts past the gloaming.
Downriver in Ferndale at 5 p.m., string band The Ukelaliens are throwing a CD release party, benefit show and goulash dinner at the Our Savior's Lutheran Church (price TBA). Copies of the album will be available to those who donate to The River Life Foundation.
And finally tonight at Humbrews, it's Soul Party #12, with the usual suspects Red, Jay Morg, Tanasa and special guest DJ Rascue at 9 p.m. ($5). Come cut a rug or parquet floor or whatever with the best vinyl twisters in town.
The Outer Space presents an evening of performance art, stop motion animation and interactive illustrated storytelling. 7 p.m. ($5). Artist and local treasure Violet Crabtree brings a new panel-animated musical adventure to the stage with her group The Comix Trip. Genderqueer artist Llano River Blue's sci-fi web series Chenille Stems & the Dream Machine will have a screening and Llano's band The Sweet Trade will play some tunes. Finally, local artist, model and daring demimonde Ms. Adeveve Glitterstorm will perform some hyper-mutant futuresong version of the beguine or something. Come find out.
Australia and Canada are in the house tonight at the Miniplex. Melbourne's Carla dal Forno with her detached, deadpan but heavy vocals snake through tight songs of concentric darkness and flashbangs. She is touring in support of her debut solo album You Know What It's Like and will likely put on a great show. Opening up from Toronto is Tess Roby, who haunts the magnetic tape reels of the 1980's dream machines at 8:30 p.m. ($10).
Band O' Loko plays some real hot surf rock numbers near the freshwater breaks at the Mad River Brewery at 6 p.m. (free). Catch the warm rays of May and ride the wave of sweet spring eventide.
There are a couple of fun ones tonight at 7 p.m. to appeal to a wide spectrum of tastes with distortion-driven sweetmeats, low-end chunks and sweet, old twang. Local metalhead Sam Bryson celebrates his birthday at The Siren's Song as his band Dullahan gets in on the fun with Oakland metal legends Necrot. Burning Hash and DMT share the smoke as well ($7).
And at the Outer Space, touring solo bass powerhouse CJ Boyd hits the deep notes while dusty swingers Opossum Sun Trail play a post-tour set with guest drum maestro Tavan Anderson from White Manna whacking the sun spurs and goat skins. Rainbow night-tripper mister moonbeam walks and whistles through the stardust valley to a Neverland-endless heaven of a dreaming Patsy Cline.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Yeo wishes that all public utility boxes were covered with kitschy kitties and ice cream cones, but he understands that we just can't have nice things in an anodyne gray world. He lives in Arcata.